Employment-Based Green Card Timeline

It typically takes at least a couple of years for a foreign worker to obtain a Green Card.  In most cases the foreign worker does not have to wait for the Green Card before starting his job.

Benefits of Concurrent Filing (In case Beneficiary in U.S.): Filing an I-140 and I-485 Concurrently To Speed Up The Green Card Process

When you file the I-485 application, you are also eligible to file for an employment authorization document (EAD) and for travel authorization (advance parole).

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Employment-based Green Card Steps Overview


1. Determine if you are eligible to apply for a Green Card

U.S. immigration laws provide a variety of ways for people to apply for a Green Card. The eligibility requirements for adjustment of status may vary depending on the immigrant category you are applying under. The first step in the adjustment of status process is to determine if you fit into a specific immigrant category.

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2. PERM Labor Certification

This stage during Green Card process for an EB2 and EB3 will be to obtain the PERM or Labor Certification.

  • If you are in the special category EB-1 or EB-2 NIW the PERM Labor Certification is not required.


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3. Filling I-140 Immigration Application

Once you have the approval of the PERM labor certification, you will be able to file the I-140 application. Once the USCIS receives the petition, that date will be your priority date. The I-140 typically takes an average of six months to process, though this can be expedited through premium processing.

EB-1 EB-2 and EB-3 allow you to file your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status at the same time the Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker is pending. This is called “concurrent filing.” For more information on concurrent filing, see our Concurrent Filing page.

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4. Check visa availability (if applicable)

You must wait until your priority date is current with the final action dates posted by the Department of Homeland Security. Dependent on which preference level you qualify for and which country you hold citizenship.

Some preference levels have no wait time while others have a wait time of several years. For information on visa availability, see the Visa Availability and Priority Dates page, the Adjustment of Status Filing Charts, and the Department of State website to view the Visa Bulletin.

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5. Adjustment of Status I-485

Once your priority date is current, you can file for an Adjustment of Status by submitting an I-485 form. The I-485 processing time varies depending on which service center. On average, this step can take between 4-8 months.

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6. Go to your Application Support Center appointment

After your I-485 is approved, the USCIS will issue you an employment-based green card. USCIS will mail you a notice for your biometrics services appointment at a local Application Support Center (ASC) to provide your fingerprints, photograph, and/or signature. The notice will include the date, time, and location of the appointment.

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7. Receive Your Green Card

You will receive your Green Card in the mail after you arrive in the United States. If you do not receive your Green Card within 45 days of your arrival, please call our USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 or make an InfoPass appointment to visit your local USCIS field office.

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Our online tool makes it so easy to complete your immigration paperwork

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Your Attorney Compiles your Case, you Sign, and your Attorney Submits. Your attorney prepares all necessary USCIS forms and any supporting materials in their power. If there is supporting documentation that only you as the client have access to (ex: former employer letters), they will tell you exactly what you need to do and provide you with samples, so you can get the correct documentation. Once everything is ready, your attorney will compile your case into a professional legal petition, with a cover letter and a table of contents that will please USCIS and/or the other immigration authorities. They will check everything again, and send it to you to print and sign, via our secure online system. You will print and sign your completed case, and mail it to us in the envelope we provide. Your attorney will verify that you signed in the correct places, and they will send it off to the correct USCIS Dropbox, processing center, or other authority. It is possible that USCIS or other immigration authorities may request additional documentation/clarification regarding your petition. Your attorney will handle any such requests, communicating with you as required. Please visit our How our Legal Services Work page.*


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